Updated July 2008
Immerse yourself and your family in lavender this July, during Sequim's annual Lavender Festival and Street Fair. Fifty varieties of this fragrant and colorful herb are grown on more than 30 farms in the area.
While many farms are open to visitors for the whole month, the best time for a family to visit is during the Lavender Festival and Street Fair, when eight farms welcome visitors to learn more about growing and using lavender.
Take a Farm Tour Bus from downtown Sequim to one or more of the farms. (You can also drive yourself; parking is available at the farms.) Each farm has unique offerings. At Jardin du Soleil. try the lavender ice cream. (Other food is also available, including barbecue chicken, meatballs and pasta.) Parents might enjoy watching the lavender cooking demonstrations. Afterward, pick up a recipe book to take home and try out. Children will enjoy the face painting and bubble wands.
At Cedarbrook Herb Farm, one of the first lavender farms in the area with over 40 varieties (and the only one to offer a new deep purple variety of a French lavender) learn how to make a lavender wand. Enjoy a meal at the restaurant on the property, where you'll find sandwiches as well as full entrees. At Purple Haze Farm, a seven-acre organic farm, pick a bouquet or buy natural products already dried. Watch how lavender is distilled to get oil essence products.
When you've viewed the farms, return to Sequim for the street fair. Many of the 150 booths feature handcrafted products using lavender and demonstrations of lavender crafts. The fair also features face painting and activities like lavender sachets or wand making. And of course, lots of food. You'll be surprised at how many ways lavender can be used with food.
Sequim, located on the northern coast of Washington's Olympic peninsula, comes from the S'Kallam tribe's word 'S'Kwim' meaning "calm waters." This sunny valley, in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, has a perfect climate for growing lavender. But Sequim is more than just lavender. Natural beauties abound. A part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, the Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the U.S. You can walk the five-mile spit to the lighthouse at the end.
As you drive around, be on the outlook for the Olympic Peninsula Roosevelt Elk, only found on the Olympic Peninsula. This herd of approximately 100 elk considers the Sequim area home.
Check out different wildlife at the Olympic Game Farm. Some animals are in protective environments, while others roam free. Drive through the farm and come face to face with the animals from your car window. Driving tours are available year round; guides also conduct walking tours in the summer. Buy a loaf of bread for $1 at the gate and enjoy the animals while you toss out chunks from your car.
Janice Lovelace is a writer and photographer who loves to travel throughout Washington. She lives in Snohomish County and has two children.
Sequim Lavender Festival and Street Fair
This year's hours: www.lavenderfestival.com
To get there: head to the north Olympic Peninsula on Highway 101. Take the Sequim Street exit to reach the street fair.
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
To get there: go west of Sequim on Highway 101, turn north on Kitchen-Dick Road. Continue three miles to Dungeness Recreation Area. Go through the recreation area to the Refuge parking lot.
Updated hours/admission: Visit the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Web site.
Olympic Game Farm
To get there: from downtown Sequim, travel on Sequim-Dungeness Way to Woodcock, turn left (west), to Ward and turn right (north).
Updated hours/admission: call 800-778-4295 or visit www.olygamefarm.com.